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One La Jolla High School Ranks Best in San Diego County by U.S. News & World Report

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

The Preuss School UCSD—a charter middle and high school for motivated, low-income students who strive to become the first in their families to graduate from college—was recently ranked the best high school in San Diego County by U.S. News & World Report, which recently released its annual list of “Best High Schools.” Located on the campus of the University of California, San Diego, the school is also ranked the 5th best high school in California, the 10th best charter school in the country and 42nd overall in the nation.

“We are extremely proud to receive this recognition,” said Scott Barton, principal of The Preuss School UCSD. “With our longer school day and school year, we have created a rigorous academic environment that offers the support students need to succeed.”

Longer learning time is a fundamental tenet of the Preuss educational model. Students are in school longer each day and for 23 more days a year than the typical student in California, which adds up to almost an entire extra academic year over the course of their middle and high school careers. The cost of these extra days of instruction is not covered by the state and is funded, in part, by private support.

To compile the list, U.S. News & World Report evaluated more than 19,400 public high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia. Schools were evaluated on overall student performance on state-mandated assessments, as well as how effectively they educated their black, Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students. Performance on Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate exams was then used to determine the degree to which schools prepare students for college-level work.

While Preuss was ranked 5th in California, it was the only school in the top 5 that requires that all prospective students must be from a low-income family and have no parent or guardian who has graduated from a four-year college. At 97 percent, Preuss also had the second highest minority population of the top 5 schools.

The Preuss School is chartered by the San Diego Unified School District and operated by UC San Diego. More than 800 students come from throughout San Diego County to participate in a single-track college preparatory curriculum and take advantage of an array of academic supports including tutoring, mentoring and counseling. Each Preuss student takes at least six AP courses in high school with many students taking up to nine or 10 AP courses. Preuss graduates are consistently accepted to four-year colleges and universities at a rate of more than 90 percent and all 96 students in the Class of 2013—Preuss’s tenth graduating class—were accepted to a four-year college or university.

This latest ranking comes on the heels of another recent ranking by The Washington Post, which named Preuss as one of “America’s Most Challenging High Schools.” Preuss was rated the most challenging high school in San Diego County, 4th in California and 29th in the nation.

Visit U.S. News & World Report’s “Best High Schools” web page for more information. 

—UC San Diego

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